Press Articles
Mysteries of Medicine
British practitioner shares ancient Tibetan secrets
Jan Stevens
Arizona Daily Sun (USA)
8 September 1997

Stick out your tongue and say "ahhh."

That could be a request from either a Western doctor or a Tibetan physician.

And both might look at the color of the tongue as well as whether it has a thick coating, which could be an indication of an illness.

However, Barry Clark, trained for 20 years in the ancient Tibetan medical system, goes a few steps further. He looks to see if the tongue is dry and course, red and rough, has a whitish or greenish tinge or is dull and moist.

Any of those findings could be a sign of an imbalance of energies of the body, he said. Once a diagnosis is reached, the person might be restored to balance with various herbs, spices or minerals.

Clark is in Flagstaff this week teaching the basics of Tibetan medicine as part of a 12-city tour in the United States. He offered an introductory lecture Friday evening, an intensive workshop Saturday and Sunday and will be giving private consultations for $200 through Wednesday at M&M's Traditional Chinese Medical Clinic, 513 N. Beaver St.

Clark was born in England but studied medicine in India under Yeshe Donden, the personal physician of the Dalai Lama for 18 years. Clark now has a home-based practice of Tibetan medicine in Auckland, New Zealand.

He said diagnosis of the tongue is one of the three basic tools a Tibetan practitioner uses in a medical practice.

However, the study of two other bodily functions-urine and pulse-are actually more important than the study of the tongue.

"When a patient comes in, I would first get a medical history and begin a rough working diagnosis in my mind from the symptoms. Then I would do a urine and pulse diagnosis, then check the tongue," Clark said in a workshop Sunday afternoon at the Art of Living Center.

Those in the workshop learned what to look for in a urine sample during what Clark jokingly referred to as a "pee party." Participants studied urine samples for color, sediments or deposits.

"Then you have to look at the bubbles-the size and shape and how long the stay on the surface. You analyze all that in relation to each other," said Clark, stirring a urine sample with a stick to produce bubbles.

One sample contained sediment in the bottom of the jar that looked like grains of sand. Clark said that was an indication of a kidney problem. When he stirred the urine with a stick, the bubbles made a cracking noise, indicating a slight latent infection, he said.

Clark also spoke of nine major qualities and three minor qualities felt through the pulse. Six different pulses are felt on each wrist, which correspond to different organs.

"Healthy and unhealthy pulsations tell you a great deal about the person," he said.

Clark said Tibetan medicine is an ancient system of health care based on terms of relative levels and balance and imbalance of subtle energies.

"How we are restored and healed is achieved by various natural means, partly by natural substances, herbs, healing plants, spices and some minerals, which have themselves energy principles. The idea is to restore the natural balance and equilibrium," he said.

Clark also said listening to a person's symptoms has a deeper meaning, a deeper implication that tells which energy is slightly out of balance," he said.

Clark said he was in his 20s when he felt "an instinctive urge" to go to India after college to study Tibetan medicine. He said books such as the Tibetan Book of the Dead inspired him to follow the call.

"I became very inspired to look somehow past my very mundane experience of my life in England," he said. "I took off with the idea of meeting a patriarchal sort of guru in a cave somewhere."

Clark said he started off by visiting the Istitute of Learning in Dharamsala, India, a community in the northwest Himalayas.

"I had information about the institute and it seemed like a great place to drop in before I went to find a real guru in a cave. But I never got any further than there," said Clark.

Clark went to India with high expectations, so high he somehow expected to be disappointed.

"But when I finally arrived and listened to the teachings, it actually far exceeded my expectations. It was really in contrast to what I thought would happen, and I kind of sat up mentally and paid attention."

Clark, fluent in several languages, said he stayed in India for about 20 years, leaving a few times to work to earn money to return to stay longer. He studied spiritual practices and Tibetan medicine.

"I try to keep the two wings of my interest flapping in unison-the wing of Tibetan medicine and the wing of spiritual development. The spiritual development, of course, is like an ultimate cure or at least the way to reach a cure through a fully enlightened state."

Clark is the author of "Quintessence Tantras of Tibetan Medicine," a book of Tibetan medical techniques that he has translated.

He said he spends four to five hours a day in spiritual practices such as meditation. He sees patients in regular office hours in his home-based clinic, but fits spiritual committments into breaks in the day as well as in the morning and evening.

Doctor has faith in Tibetan medicine
Karen Kindt
Sunshine Coast Daily (Australia)
24 February 1998

When you first meet Englishman Barry Clark-appearance, accent, and mannerisms could lead you to believe that he belongs in the world of finance or maybe even law.

The deception is put to rest, however, after glancing at the cover of his recent publication, The Quintessence Tantras of Tibetan Medicine, translation by Dr. Barry Clark.

Dr. Barry Clark is the only fully qualified western practitioner and teacher of Tibetan medicine in the world.

A deep longing to study and practise Buddhist meditation and philosophy took Dr. Barry Clark from the counties of Devon and Cornwall in England in the mid '70s, into the Himalayas in India where he remained for 20 years.

There in Dharamsala, living no more than 100 meters from the Dalai Lama, Clark undertook an experimental course in Tibetan Medicine and became one of the two people to be taught by the Dalai Lama's personal physician, Dr. Yeshe Dondon.

He studied intensively for many years before returning to England in 1982 where he set up practice in Stoke Newington, for a year. He travelled regularly to Cardiff, Bristol and various centres in the UK doing weekend workshops, giving lectures and private consultations. He also became translator for the visiting Tibetan masters, and undertook major tours throughout Europe, the United States and Canada, making valuable contacts along the way.

He returned to Dharamsala to take up a further seven years of advanced studies in Tibetan Medicine, before finally moving to New Zealand in the early '90s.

Fluent in French, German, Hindi, Persian (Farsi), Spanish and English, Clark tours the globe regularly giving lectures and consultations.

He has a hirm belief that "Tibetan medicine compensates for the weakness of other systems used by doctors, therapists and healers".

"Tried and tested through the ages, Tibetan medicine uses completely natural products, herbs and spices," he said.

"I have a strong desire to communicate its essence and value to people all over the world."

Dr. Clark said Tibetan medicine "is designed and works on the principle of restoring the body's component energies of wind, bile and phlegm to their natural balance and order".

Dr. Clark is lecturing on the Sunshine Coast and will be at Chenrezig Buddhist Institute to February 25, phone 5445 0077, and in Noosa from February 26 to March 4, phone 5474 5373.

Bid to gain recognition for Tibetan Medicine
Angela Crompton
Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
16 February 1994

When Barry Clark went to India in the 1970s, he was among thousands of other disillusioned Western youths, hoping to find life's "ultimate" answer.

As time went on, most eventually went back home, but Mr. Clark, who is English, liked the lifestyle and stayed for about 20 years.

But last December he and Dekyi, the woman from Tibet he had met and married in India, decide their two young children needed access to better educational facilities than that country could offer. The Clarks have now settled on Dunedin.

Barry's time in India was spent studying, then practising Tibetan medicine. In the past few years he has taken his teachings, as an interpreter and a teacher, to other countries.

His own introduction to this method of healing came after following the Buddhist teachings of Tibetan lamas living in exile in Dharamsala. But he worried he was not wise enough or dedicated enough to devote his life to prayer, he said. When a school of Tibetan medicine opened and started accepting foreign students, he enrolled.

Mr Clark stayed six years then did a two-year "internship". He now believes he is the only Westerner fully qualified to practise the ancient medicine which has been around for more than 2000 years.

Tibetan medicine has no official status in New Zealand, so Mr. Clark will try to gain some public recognition for its practise by linking up with other alternative healing groups such as naturopathy, homeopathy or herbalism.

Showing some of the medications he had brought with him from India, he unlocked a suitcase, and unravelled from it a large woven rug with rows of small pockets. These were filled with herbal pills and compounds.

Most came from plants growing in the mountains of Tibet, he said. After being harvested, they were dried, ready for mixing into different combinations. There were also mixtures containing pulverised diamonds, gold and other precious and non-precious stones, he said.

In his visits to other countries, alpine plants like those growing in Tibet had been found in Japan, Alaska, Austria and the United States. However, a search through New Zealand alpine books had shown few plants suited for medicinal uses growing here. "Your flora is very different."